Martin O’Neill decision was Questioned after Several Drops from Team

The Republic of Ireland couldn’t have done without three points in the Italy match which was their last match in the initial round in Euro.

So, it was a no-brainer that they would be using their first pick XI to play the game, but, Martin O’Neill, at that crucial juncture, dropped several of the first picks. It was questionable even though the Greens went on to achieve the necessary win.

But, as per O’Neill, he had felt in the match the team had played prior to the Italy match that a couple of players were not at the level of speed he would have liked and he knew that the Azzurri, having advanced, were going to bring in their back-ups to protect their main men for the pre quarter final and the back-ups coming in would be more energetic as they had not played any match till then. So, to counter them, more speed would be required from his side and that could only come from the players who were fresh. So, he thought of making changes.

O’Neill is thankful that the response of all those who were left on the side-lines, one of which was the deputy skipper John O’Shea as well, was professional and nobody really murmured about it.

O’Shea is one of the 6 players who have had a century of appearances for Republic of Ireland. His no. of appearances, which is 114, is lesser only to that of Robbie Keane and Shay Given. However, the Euro was probably the worst tournament in the career of the defender and the rumours of him retiring are on the peak.

But, O’Neill is looking for one more season from the veteran as he reckons he needs him in World Cup qualification matches.

Shay Given hoping to be in the starting lineup for the first game at the Euros

The Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given said that he still has hope to be in the first team for the match against Sweden.

He said that the manager, Martin O’Neill has not revealed yet which goalkeeper will be on the pitch for the first game.

Shay Given was the first choice at the last Euros in 2012 but has since lost his place to Darren Randolph. Indeed, the latter has been the preferred choice of O’Neill since the qualifying campaign, and it is very likely that things will stay that way at the Euros.

Given has stated that there are three good players for the goalkeeping roles and it will be up to the manager to decide. They all just want to keep hope at the moment and will wait for the manager’s choice.

Shay Given, who has just won his 134th cap for Ireland, said that he was pleased to be the longest-serving player for Ireland. However, he admitted that this did not mean much to him as he would have been happy to play for Ireland if it was only once. He said that it is always an honor to represent your country, and he was really glad that he has been able to do so for 19 consecutive years.

He said that Ireland has one of the oldest squads at the Euros, and this does not necessarily constitute a disadvantage. He said that the squad has plenty of experience in every department, and that can be an asset when you are playing at a major competition. He said that Ireland also has some good young players and hope that they can benefit from the experience of the older players.

He believes that Ireland can have a successful tournament if every player plays to their true potential.

Rafael Benitez wants every Player to Play upto their Potential

What Rafael Benitez wants off his Magpies is for them to use every bit of their playing potential to take the most out of the 18 points that’s left there for the taking as far as they are concerned.

As per Benitez, the pressure is both at the top as well as at the bottom of the table. If you are at the top, you are chasing the title, while, if you are at the bottom, you are chasing safety. So, there is a target in front of you either way and your supporters see that target as a success for you. But, in any situation, the players can just look to deliver their best and make sure they leave nothing in the tank. Having done that, they would have no regrets later on and the supporters would see that too and understand that.

After joining the job, Benitez has so far seen Newcastle just adding one more to their total of points. The first match he took the operations in his hand, it was against Leicester at Leicester and the Magpies lost there.

The next game at home, the Black Cats let them a draw with some lose play, but, it was back to losses again as they lost back to back against Norwich City and Southampton after that.

So, Benitez has not proved as talismanic as one might have imagined him to be with his heavy curriculum vitae.

Newcastle, however, is playing most of the matches at home now, four matches, to be exact, at home and only two away. So, that’s one shining light and that’s something that Benitez can draw a bit of positivity from.
It’s Swansea City which will be the visiting team at Upton Park this Saturday.

Shay Given expects NU to avoid relegations

Goalkeeper Shay Given expects his former club, Newcastle United, to avoid relegation against all the odds. Newcastle have been down in the drop zone for much of the season.

This led to manager Steve McClaren sacked from his role. The former England boss could not see out one single campaign with the Toon Army. Given played at Newcastle for several years and was regarded as a stable option for the managers. He has since moved to different clubs over the last couple of years and is now currently playing with Stoke City.

He was last seen at St James’s Park in 2009 and he represented the club in more than 350 matches. The club has already experienced a relegation once since the turn of the century. There is a distinct possibility that a second could be on the way. Newcastle are already cut off from the rest of the teams trying to avoid relegation with only Swansea being involved – apart from the three teams in the relegation zone. For a couple of years after coming back to the top division, Newcastle enjoyed relative stability due to the presence of Alan Pardew.

Pardew, though, was not welcomed by the club supporters who did not see him as one of their own, not least after he took the suad on a Southampton yacht charter rather than off on a boat in the Tyne.

“It isn’t a nice situation for them to be in, but I do really think that they will get out of it.They made some really strong signings during the January window and I think on paper, they look a really good side. I am sure that it will all click and they will pull themselves clear - hopefully, not until after Wednesday night’s game mind.There will be some anxiousness and nervousness around the place at the moment, but that is to be expected when there are only 11 or 12 games to go and you are involved in a relegation battle,” said Given.

Shay Given’s time on the sidelines is far from over

A knee injury that Shay Given suffered back in October of 2015 has kept the Irish shot-stopper on the sidelines of Stoke City for significantly long period of time but even if he does manage to fully recover from his recent injury, it’s highly unlikely that Given will see a lot of playing time as Jack Butland is the main goal-keeper of the Premier League club.

This injury has also forced Shay Given on having to sit out from the 2016 Euro’s play-offs of Republic of Ireland and things got so intense for Given that he had to undergo a surgery.

The injured Irishman has recently come out to the spotlight of the media as he defended the former Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood.

Tim Sherwood hasn’t enjoyed the best of times as a manager; he has been sacked from the only 2 clubs which he has taken charge of. After being sacked in the White Hart Stadium as the coach of Tottenham Hotspur in May of 2014, Sherwood tried his luck by taking charge of Aston Villa but his time as the manager of the team only lasted around 8 months as he went through a string of underwhelming results and now Sherwood is left without any coaching duties.
In spite of the negative results that Tim Sherwood and the successive sackings of Tim Sherwood, Shay Given has defended the English coach as Given said:

Shay Given said: “I have a lot of time for Tim, actually. Possibly he should have been given more time. He might not have been involved in the player recruitment, and if that’s the case, then it was a tough task for him. I think Tim will have a big future in football, and hopefully he does well.”

That was the statement released by Shay Given as the Irish shot-stopped said that Sherwood has a bright future ahead of him as a coach. Sherwood and Shay Given worked together in Aston Villa a few months ago before the English manager was eventually sacked and replaced by Remi Garde.

Mark Hughes says that there is not a great possibility of Shay Given

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes says that there is not a great possibility of Shay Given featuring for the Republic of Ireland national team in the upcoming Euro 2016 play-off match.

This is a very crucial fixture for the national team given that it will give them yet another opportunity to feature in a major tournament. Ireland failed spectacularly in the previous Euro 2012 to make any major impact, but this is a great opportunity to go for a second consecutive European Championship. For this purpose, the national team was very much looking forward to having started goalkeeper Shay Given protecting the goal.

This appears to be made tough because of the knee injury suffered by the player. The 39-year-old is one of the most experienced goalkeepers in terms of international football. He has represented the Ireland national team in 133 matches, but he has been sidelined since limping away from the 1-0 win over Germany back in October. The upcoming game against Bosnia and Herzegovina will be anything but easier. Hughes predicted that it will be tough for the goalkeeper to make it to the national team given that he has not recovered sufficiently from the surgery. Stoke, themselves, have been getting through with youngster Jack Buckland deputising him in goal.

"He was in training the other day and unfortunately after training, his knee blew up. He's got a little bit of loose bone in the knee which we hoped would just settle down.But obviously it's raised his head again and it looks like he might have to have a procedure to deal with it. I'm not sure if that decision has been made as yet, but it's probably what will happen.No, he won't be available for that. I would be very surprised," said the Stoke City manager.

Shay Given praises new Manager Tim Sherwood

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given says that new manager Tim Sherwood played a huge role in inspiring the club to a comeback over Leicester City in the FA Cup.

Villa moved into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Leicester, who are just two places below them in the Premier League. Both teams are struggling for form in the league. Since staying in the Premier League is a far bigger concern for many clubs, it was thought that Villa would field a weakened team and not bother about getting a victory. It was not the case after they managed to prevent a late fightback from Leicester to win the match 2-1.

Villa had suffered three consecutive defeats prior to this match, but they were on a high after the arrival of Sherwood on a new three and a half year contract. The former Tottenham manager may not have lasted long in his previous role, but he is expected to rejuvenate this Villa team at least in the short-term. Given is coming to end of his career at 38 years of age. He is yet to feature in the league with all of his four appearances so far coming in cup competitions. It is unlikely that this situation will change even after Sherwood’s arrival.

"When the new manager comes in it's a clean slate for everyone. I have plenty to offer and I hope that Tim sees that today.He was very positive -- he's always a positive guy. He told us to go and express ourselves. We have to take confidence. We scored two goals, and we have struggled to score goals. We will take belief from that as well and use this momentum to take into our league games,” said Given about the half-time team talk given by Sherwood.

Shay Given might give away Goalkeeping

Shay Given might be seen discharging the goalkeeping duties for his former club Newcastle United this weekend.

The Magpies are finding themselves in a lot of trouble at the moment. All the three goalkeepers that they had in the senior squad are injured and the only option that they are left with now is to go with the teenaged Freddie Woodman in the upcoming game against Sunderland.

Woodman is only 17 and it’s very difficult for him to soak in the intensity and pressure of the first division.
And, there will be that added pressure in that game against Sunderland.

The Black Cats are the arch rivals of Newcastle and even the experienced players feel the nerves in that derby encounter.
So, to ask somebody, who is this young, to take position between the sticks in such a high profile fixture, it would be a fraction unfair.

It is understood that Newcastle seeks permission from the governing committee of the Premier League to bring in somebody on loan quickly for a short period of time.

If they are granted that permission, the first man that they would think about is Shay Given.

Firstly because the veteran Irishman is not playing at Villa and is not supposed to be going to play in the near future either and secondly, because he has been there in the Tyne-Wear derbies.

The supporters of Newcastle desperately want the club to try and make that loan move.

Some of the supporters even tweeted directly to Shay Given on his Twitter account, urging him to accept the offer of Alan Pardew if he comes with it.

However, the most important question is whether the governing committee would allow Newcastle to loan in a goalie at this point of time or not.

Given still has ambition at 38

Who says the players start losing their hunger once they get past 35 years of age? Look at Shay Given. The guy is 38 now, but, there is still ambition in his eyes. He is still going, not only in the professional circuit, but, in the international arena as well.
The veteran goalie had actually got himself away from international soccer by announcing his retirement in 2012, but, he has come out of it now and he has even been included in his national squad i.e. Republic of Ireland.
Given is not worried about how many matches he is going to play for Ireland in future. According to him, the more important thing for him is to be with the squad and make sure that he contributes in some way or the other.
In an interview recently, when Shay Given was asked if he is sure to be given opportunity to play in the forthcoming match versus Gibraltar, he said, “It’s not that important for me. What’s important is to make some kind of contribution even if I sit out. I would be really happy if I do that.”
“The purpose is to make the team qualify for the big competitions. It doesn’t matter who plays as long as that guy is living up to what’s expected.”
Given, however, admitted that sitting on the sidelines at club level can get a bit difficult as well as frustrating at times.
In the words of the Irishman, “You obviously don’t like that, but, if you are not the first choice, that doesn’t mean you sit back and doesn’t put in effort because you never know. Suddenly, somebody gets injured and you are called upon to play. So, you’ve got to be ready.”
Given has thus far had 38 matches to his name in Villa shirt.

Given Believes Guzan Can Replace Howard

Shay Given has said that Brad Guzan can replace Tim Howard as America’s no. 1 goalkeeper in case the latter decides to call it a day as an international footballer.

Howard was fantastic for USA in the World Cup in Brazil. He had made numerous great saves, but, being 35 years of age, he can’t be expected to keep playing for long now, surely not until the next World Cup which is going to take place in Russia.

Given, who himself had been rock solid between the sticks for a number of years for the Republic of Ireland, reckons that the time has come for Guzan to be given a permanent place in the USA national squad.

Since making his debut for USA in 2009, Guzan has played only 25 international matches so far.

Talking about Guzan the other day, Shay Given said, “Brad just needs to keep doing his job which is to make saves for Aston Villa. He has been doing that expertly for the last couple of years and I have got no doubt that with Tim Howard near the end of his international career, Brad would be considered by the USA management quite regularly now. Even if Tim doesn’t retire, Brad should be given opportunities.”

“Brad’s concentration level is quite good and at Aston Villa of late, he has shown that he has got all the qualities needed for somebody to become a successful international goalie.”

Guzan has been at Villa since 2008. He had joined the club after leaving Chivas USA.

For the first few years of his tenure at Villa, Guzan was the understudy of his compatriot Brad Friedel. But, since 2012, he started getting regular playing time. In the last two years, he has made more than 70 league appearances for the club.

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